The market bloodbath: Some perspective

I don’t write about the stock market much any more — mostly because I wrote about it every day for about 15 years and kind of got sick of it, to tell you the honest truth — but today was one of those days where it’s hard to pay attention to anything else. Like many people, I spent much of the day hitting the refresh button on my browser to see how low the Dow and the Toronto stock indexes were going to go. I never imagined that some day I would watch the TSX come within a hair of a 1,000-point drop in a single day, or the Dow plummet more than 750 points.

On days like today, it’s tempting to use terms like “bloodbath” and “catastrophe,” and all those muscular-sounding adjectives that headline writers use to really pump up the hype, and plenty of media outlets were doing just that. Others were trumpeting the fact that this was the biggest-ever drop on the Dow and other indexes — but of course, that only applies if you’re looking at the number of points that they fell. If you look at it in terms of the market’s percentage decline, then it was definitely a bad day, but a long way from the worst ever. In 1987, the Dow fell by more than 23 per cent, while yesterday it fell by less than 7 per cent.

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Video: Longboarding through Claremont

This video has been making the rounds for awhile now, and every time I watch it I find myself amazed, and torn between admiration for these two skateboarders and a sense that they are insane and risking certain death, riding at high speed down a mountain road in the middle of the day, wearing nothing but powder-blue suits and carrying an HD video camera. Estimates of the speeds they reach are in the 50 to 60 mile-per-hour range. It appears to be a publicity stunt for fashion designer Adam Kimmel.

click for the video

Art: A nicer form of dumpster-diving

Montreal-based artist Michel de Broin created a hot tub out of an old commercial dumpster for his work Blue Monochrom. Found via the Make magazine blog. The artist’s site is here, and he’s also the creator of a number of other interesting works, including one called the Shared Propulsion Car, which consists of a 1986 Buick Regal sedan that has had its engine removed and been transformed into a pedal car for four people. Pedaling it around the streets of Toronto has gotten the artist into a little bit of trouble on occasion. There’s YouTube video of the car in action.

click to see the image

iPhone: Just sit there and take it

Someone named Dan Kimerling, writing at TechCrunch, has some simple advice for developers who are upset about Apple’s opaque approval process for the iPhone app store: Quit yer whining, or as he puts it “don’t complain, just keep coding.” Dan — who, at least according to his LinkedIn profile, doesn’t appear to have any development experience, either with the iPhone or any other device — argues that a) it’s Apple’s store, and therefore the company can do whatever it wants, and b) given the popularity of the iPhone, you have to develop for it whether you like it or not.

Both of those statements are undoubtedly true, at least to a certain extent. Apple is well known for its attention to detail and its firm control over the design and use of its devices, software, platforms, etc., so it’s hardly surprising that it would take the same attitude towards the app store. And there’s no question that it is the hot mobile platform at the moment, and so most developers — those who don’t decide to quit Apple and develop for the Google Phone — will grit their teeth and develop apps for it regardless of how the company behaves. Fair enough, I suppose.

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Calacanis: the Tony Robbins of Web 2.0

Update:

Apparently, Jason doesn’t want his email newsletters posted any more because he “doesn’t want to give the haters a platform,” according to a Twitter message. The text of the email has removed from both Silicon Alley Insider and TechCrunch, but you can still find it.

Original post:

Jason Calacanis, the diminutive entrepreneur behind Weblogs Inc. and the “people-powered search engine” known as Mahalo, seems to be attempting to transform himself from just a scrappy CEO into a Web 2.0 cross between Deepak Chopra and Tony Robbins. It’s actually been coming for some time, but really kicked into gear when Jason stopped blogging and started sending out an email newsletter to a select group of followers. Of course, his missives routinely show up on various blogs anyway, which is a nice way to have your cake and eat it too. Which is great, because it means that none of us is denied access to Jason’s words of wisdom.

In his latest missive, Jason gives each of us the benefit not only of his years of startup experience but also of his bachelor’s degree in psychology, both of which taught him a number of key lessons about how to succeed even when everything is going against you. I’ve read through his newsletter several times and extracted some of those key lessons:

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